Trump renews call for Russia to rejoin G-7

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE on Tuesday revived his idea that Russia should be reinstated into the Group of Seven (G-7) major economies, arguing that it is “much more appropriate to have Russia in.”

Trump made the remarks to reporters while meeting in the Oval Office with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday afternoon.

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“We talk about Russia because I’ve been to numerous G-7 meetings,” Trump said. “I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in.”

Trump said he would support adding Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFunding for Radio Free Europe to return to Hungary will send a strong message Juan Williams: Trump, the conspiracy theory president Putin: Trump not to blame for lack of improved relations with Russia MORE to the G-7 economic talks, and he blamed former President Obama for ousting Russia after Putin “outsmarted him.”

“I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it was not a good idea to have Russia in,” Trump told reporters, adding later, “That’s not the way it should work.”

Trump’s remarks come days before he is set to travel to France for the annual G-7 meeting, which will also include leaders from France, Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.

Trump’s comments could stoke tensions ahead of the summit and provoke accusations from his critics that he’s been too soft on Russia after Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Russia was ousted from what was then the G-8 over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Trump made similar remarks before the last G-7 summit, telling reporters last June that Russia should be part of the talks even while claiming he has been Russia’s “worst nightmare.”

“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Trump said then. “And in the G-7, which used be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”